In 1874 retired politician William Fox toured the thermal district of the central North Island and subsequently wrote to Premier Julius Vogel, suggesting that the hot springs be developed as spas. His lengthy letter, in which he gave detailed descriptions of each of the hot pools he visited, was later published in an official paper, and the government eventually acted on his recommendation.
Yet it might be, and is probably destined to be, the sanatorium not only of the Australian Colonies, but of India and other portions of the globe. The country in which the hot springs are is almost worthless for agricultural or pastoral, or any similar purposes; but when its sanitary resources are developed, it may prove a source of great wealth to the colony. And not only so, but it may be the means of alleviating much human misery, and relieving thousands from their share of the ills that flesh is heir to. Portions of it might be appropriated to the use of public hospitals, asylums for the insane, or the inebriate, and it might not be impossible to concentrate there all the institutions usually established by Government, or private enterprise, for the relief of the sick, the destitute, and the incurable.
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Reference: Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1874, H-26
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